Pacific Northwest band Sunderland is about to take it on the road to the Midwest --- as the winners of the "Charter Center Stage" digital battle of the bands contest.
Sunderland, from Hood River, Ore. received the most votes on the Charter Center Stage website, where voters viewed music videos from the 11 contest finalists and elected the band they wanted to see open the upcoming Center Stage concert.
The battle of the bands contest, accompanied by a consumer sweepstakes, was the centerpiece of a back-to-school, high-speed acquisition campaign that showcased Charter's online speed and capabilities throughout its 11-territory footprint. The offer: Charter Internet for $19.99 per month, plus three months of a free cloud drive.
Known for their extended play recording "Change of Pace," Sunderland will open for Panic! At the Disco, Fitz & The Tantrums and Plain White T's at the show at the Willow Island, Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisc. on Oct. 15. The outdoor concert, for which Charter is serving as the promoter, follows the University of Wisconsin's football game against Indiana from nearby Camp Randall Stadium, earlier that afternoon.
Sunderland scored the top tally during the second round of online voting for the 11 groups, which advanced past the 316 bands that entered the first round. Sunderland receives a prize package valued at nearly $25,000, which includes an all-expense paid trip to the Oct. 15 concert with VIP treatment and a musical equipment allowance.
Allan Samson, the cable operator's senior vice president of marketing, noted that the Charter Center Stage website received more than 1 billion impressions over the course of the campaign.
"The Internet took center stage in helping Sunderland and the other bands gain fan recognition and support. As a leading Internet service provider, this kind of online enthusiasm for music is no surprise," Samson said. "The number of fans that watched over 300 bands vie online for this concert opportunity proves that the power of the Internet and social media, coupled with numerous talented bands, unites music lovers across the country. We hope our Oct. 15 concert, streamed live via Facebook, will be the start of a great next chapter for Sunderland."
Added a spokesman: "The Center Stage campaign is focused primarily on bringing awareness to this specific age demographic regarding the significant benefits of Charter Internet service. The speed and quality in viewing the music videos posted on the Center Stage site, as well as the upcoming live streamed concert from Madison will make a strong impression on this key market group."
Charter is also rewarding some of the fans who voted for their favorite band. Every voter with a Charter serviceable address was entered into the sweepstakes for a chance to win prizes that include a trip to the concert, tablet computers, HDTVs and game consoles. Voters are also eligible to win a free year of Charter services, including Charter Internet, as well as TV and phone service.
A heated VIP tent will accommodate 150 people, including the sweepstakes winners and some key clients. Those guests can meet the artists, participate in contests and chow down on some of the foods -- cheese and brats, among them -- Wisconsin is noted for.
Sunderland comprises lead singer and guitarist McKinley Kitts, with Dylan Bauld on bass and back-up vocals, Vaughan Heppe on drums and guitarist Zachary Grace.
The group's winning selection and music video, as well as the videos from all the finalists, can be viewed at charter.com/concert.